Pubdate: Sat, 12 Aug 2017
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Toronto Star
Author: Matthew M. Elrod
Page: IN 11


Re Rethink before decriminalizing drugs, DiManno, Aug. 7

Rosie DiManno should think twice about decriminalizing drugs. Canada
gave the concept serious consideration in 1972 with the Le Dain
Commission and thought about it some more with the House of Commons
Special Committee on Non-medical Use of Drugs in 2002.

DiManno's apprehension seems to boil down to decriminalization sending
"the wrong message." If refraining from criminalizing those who engage
in unhealthy activities sends the wrong message, are we remiss in not
criminalizing drinkers, smokers and the sports she endorses?

Surely more than 10 per cent of people who play contact sports suffer
from injuries and concussions. Surely we should criminalize all
junk-food consumers, young and old, fit or fat, to send a message to
young people to eat a healthy diet.

Criminal prohibition competes and interferes with education,
treatment, harm reduction and research. It drives a wedge between
parents and their children, doctors and patients, teachers and
students and the police and their communities. It is inimical to
public health and safety.

The prevalence and popularity of illicit drugs rises and falls with no
statistical relationship to drug laws and their enforcement. However,
there is a dose-response relationship between money wasted and finite
criminal-justice resources squandered on drug laws, and
prohibition-related harms, such as crime, violence and overdose deaths.

Matthew M. Elrod, Victoria, B.C.
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